Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego

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Gaslamp Quarter Historic District
Gaslamp Quarter 01.jpg
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego is located in San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego is located in San Diego County, California
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego is located in California
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego is located in the United States
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
LocationBounded by RR tracks, Broadway, 4th, and 6th Aves., San Diego, California
Coordinates32°42′42″N 117°9′33″W / 32.71167°N 117.15917°W / 32.71167; -117.15917Coordinates: 32°42′42″N 117°9′33″W / 32.71167°N 117.15917°W / 32.71167; -117.15917
Area38 acres (15 ha)
Architectural styleLate Victorian, Art Deco
NRHP reference No.80000841[1]
SDHL No.127
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 23, 1980
Designated SDHLJune 2, 1978[2]

The Gaslamp Quarter is a 16½-block neighborhood in the downtown area of San Diego, California. It extends from Broadway to Harbor Drive, and from 4th to 6th Avenue.

Listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places as Gaslamp Quarter Historic District, it includes 94 historic buildings, most of which were constructed in the Victorian Era; many are in use as restaurants, shops, entertainment venues, and nightclubs.

It is the site of various events and festivals, including Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp, Street Scene Music Festival, Taste of Gaslamp, and ShamROCK, a St. Patrick's Day event. Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, is one block away in the East Village neighborhood.

San Diegans generally refer to the area as "the Gaslamp", rarely "Gaslamp Quarter", as on the entryway arch and official city signage and banners.[citation needed]


Corner in the Quarter

In the 1860s, the area was known as New Town, in contrast to Old Town, the original Spanish colonial settlement of San Diego.[3] Intensive development began in 1867, when Alonzo Horton bought the land in hopes of creating a new city center closer to the bay, and chose 5th Avenue as its main street.

After a period of urban decay, the neighborhood underwent urban renewal in the 1980s and 1990s.

It was rebranded the "Gaslamp Quarter" during the redevelopment and preservation efforts that occurred during the 1980s, though the streets were generally lit by arc lights, not gaslamps.[4] Four new gaslamps have been installed at the intersection of Market Street and 5th Avenue.[when?]


  • 1850: William Heath Davis bought 160 acres (0.65 km2) in what would eventually become the Gaslamp Quarter. Despite heavy investment from Davis, little development happened in this period.[5]
  • 1867: Real estate developer Alonzo Horton arrived in San Diego and purchased 800 acres (3.2 km2) of land in New Town for $265. Major development began in the Gaslamp Quarter.[6]
  • 1880s to 1916: Known as the Stingaree, the area was a working class area, home to San Diego's first Chinatown, "Soapbox Row" and many saloons, gambling halls, and bordellos.
  • 1912: Stingaree was the site of a free speech fight between socialists and city politicians which led to riots and the abduction by vigilantes of Emma Goldman's husband.[7]
  • 1916: the entire neighborhood of Stingaree was demolished and renamed by anti-vice campaigners.[8]
  • 1950s-1970s: The decaying Gaslamp Quarter became known as a "Sailor's Entertainment" district, with a high concentration of pornographic theaters, bookshops and massage parlors.[9]
  • 1970: Public interest in preserving buildings downtown started, especially in Gaslamp Quarter.
  • 1976: The city adopted the Gaslamp Quarter Urban Design and Development Manual, aimed at preserving buildings in the area, and the redevelopment of Gaslamp Quarter as a national historic district.[10]
  • 1982: Gaslamp Quarter became the major focus of the redevelopments in downtown by the city of San Diego.[citation needed]
  • 1992: Gaslamp Quarter Archway is installed and dedicated.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "Historical Landmarks Designated by the San Diego Historical Resources Board" (PDF). City of San Diego.
  3. ^ "10 Fun Facts About San Diego's Historic Gaslamp Quarter". Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  4. ^ "Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation". Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  5. ^ "Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation".
  6. ^ "San Diego Historical Society".
  7. ^ "When San Diego Had Its Own Big Labor Clash". Voice of San Diego. 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  8. ^ "Shady Ladies in the "Stingaree District" When The Red Lights Went Out in San Diego". San Diego History Center. Archived from the original on 2005-09-05. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  9. ^ Sanford, Jay Allen (2008-07-23). "Before It Was the Gaslamp: Downtown's Grindhouse Row (updated 8-22-09) | San Diego Reader". Retrieved 2021-07-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "Gaslamp Quarter Planned District Design Guidelines 2009" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Gaslamp Quarter History | Downtown San Diego, California". San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. Retrieved 2021-07-09.

External links[edit]